The McGregor Crew on this day, 77 years ago – a search for relatives…….

Today marks the 77th anniversary of the loss of 5 of the McGregor crew, whilst undertaking operations against Berlin. It is perhaps serendipity at play, that recently I have come by something that means that I need, if possible to reach out and hopefully, connect with any relatives of the crew that might be out there.

I have my fingers crossed – 7 years ago I was contacted by the great-nephew of the Pilot, Keith McGregor and I have been able to reconnect with him and his family again, just the day before last.

I am very keen to try to widen this circle of contact with other relatives of the crew and share with them, what I shall describe at this point as a very interesting find indeed.

The McGregor crew arrived at Mepal on the 29th of July. On the 30th of August the crew engaged with a an ME110 on a sortie to Munchen Gladbach – ‘The aircraft captained by F/S McGREGOR, K. sighted an ME110 astern, the rear-gunner fired a long burst, the Stirling corkscrewed and the Mid-upper gunner fired a long burst. The enemy aircraft replied and dived away with smoke pouring from its engine. It is claimed as possibly destroyed’.

The following day, the McGregor crew took off with 17 other Stirlings from Mepal to join a force to attack Berlin. Early in the hours of today,  77 years ago, Stirling Mk.III EF501, AA-K was, it is believed, attacked by a German night fighter. The attack was short and catastrophic, forcing an almost immediate dive which resulted in it crashing into the ground, south of Potsdam. Five of the seven crew were killed. The Flight Engineer and Mid-upper Gunner, were able to escape the aircraft whilst still airborne and it was a letter later sent by Geoffrey Bond, the Flight Engineer to Keith McGregor’s Mother, that shed light on the final moments of the crew and AA-K that night.

F/S Keith Alexander Mcgregor, RNZAF NZ415770 – Pilot.
Lost without trace age 21.
Son of Matthew Alexander Mcgregor and Jeanie Mcgregor, of Waikouaiti, Otago, New Zealand.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 199.

F/O James Benjamin Lovelock, RNZAF NZ416324 – Navigator.
Lost without trace age 26.
Son of John Edward Jones Lovelock and Ivy Evelyn Lovelock.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 197.

F/S William Adam Kilby, RNZAF NZ415261 – Air Bomber.
Lost without trace age 40.
Son of Henry John Kilby, and of Christina Kilby, of Ngaio, Wellington, New Zealand; Husband of Alice Kilby.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 199.

F/S James Guthrie Baker, RNZAF NZ41142 – Wireless Operator.
Lost without trace age 27.
Son of Henry and Charlotte Baker; Husband of Ellen Baker, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 198.

Sgt. Geoffrey Alec Arthur Bond, RAFVR 1801229 – Flight Engineer.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 43256
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalag Luft VI/357
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. George Frank Dummett, RAFVR 1377778 – Mid Upper Gunner.
P.o.W
Prisoner of War Number: 12730
Prison Camps: Dulag Luft, Stalags Luft VI and Luft IV
Date of return to United Kingdom: not known

Sgt. Terence Grange, RAFVR 1323448 – Rear Gunner.
Lost without trace age 22.
Son of John and Ellen Grange; Husband of Esther Grange, of South Lambeth, London.
Commemorated Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England..
Grave location – Panel 151.

I’ll take this opportunity to not only remember the boys who were killed this morning, but again, cast out a hope that I might now be able to connect with any other relative of the crew – however distant, so I can share with them what I have found.

I would ask any of you who read this post to try to spread it further, through any means possible to try to make a connection.

many thanks

Ake Ake Kia Kaha!

5 thoughts on “The McGregor Crew on this day, 77 years ago – a search for relatives…….

  1. Reg Mulder

    As usual you have triggered my mind, as searching for those MIA and their relatives is so important as I was fortunate to experience first hand.

    What triggered me was James Guthrie Baker being married with his spouse being from Winnipeg Manitoba.Thats where they trained and … where they married.

    Familysearch gives me:
    Ellen Thompson

    https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/61513/?name=James+Guthrie_Baker&spouse=Ellen

    As the marriage records become public after 80 years we have to wait 3 more years but we could give it a try. We can write the Manitoba records authorities and see if we can find more about Ellen and what might have happened to her after 1943.
    If anybody has a ancestry account please use it and share the result.

    Reg

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Greg OLeary

      Hi Reg
      Ive been trying to make contact on this page for a while.
      James Baker is my great uncle.I have photos and info on him.
      Im in NZ,would be great to pass on what I have.
      Cheers
      Greg OLeary

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. JN-Dog

        Hi Greg, that’s great, if you have any issues, you can email me at chris@foodworks.co.nz and I can pass material on to Simon. I’m based in Auckland. I see that James was more than just a woodcutter, he was a competitive woodchopper/axeman, so must have been very fit and strong. Cheers, Chris

        Like

  2. JN-Dog

    James Guthrie Baker (age 26, born 8 Jul 1916, pre-war occupation woodcutter) married Ellen Thompson (wool grader/spinster age 25) at 776 Victor St., Winnipeg on Nov 24th 1942. James was the son of Henry and Charlotte Baker, Westport, NZ. Ellen was the daughter of Stefan and Dorothy Thompson, her address given as 372 Langside, Winnipeg. Stefan was a building contractor. Witnesses to the marriage were Donald Kenneth Hardie McDonald, Wadestown, NZ and Alice Wheeler, 204 Madison St., Winnipeg. Donald McDonald trained as a W/Op with James and also married a Winnipeg girl, Mrs D. McDonald, 69 Middlegate, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Sadly Donald was also KIA on June 14th 1943, six weeks before James.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s